FARMINGTON — A former Regional School Unit 9 employee was ordered Friday to stop harassing RSU 9 employees, the superintendent, the W.G. Mallett School principal and the school board.
Farmington police served temporary protection from harassment orders on Daniel Patterson of Farmington, a former probationary second-grade teacher at Mallett School in Farmington. He was hired in August 2015 for the 2015-16 school year.
A hearing on final protection from harassment orders is scheduled for 9 a.m. March 28 at Farmington District Court. According to court paperwork, a violation of the temporary order is punishable by a maximum 364 days in jail and a $2,000 fine.
“I deny the allegations of harassment,” Patterson wrote in an email to a reporter Friday. “The statements made against me are misleading and grossly dramatized. As an employee at RSU 9 in 2015/16 I was harassed by my building principal. I’ve pursued efforts to bring out the truth but the RSU 9 school board won’t take action unless more teachers step forward. And there’s nobody willing to do that.”
The RSU 9 board of directors unanimously voted Feb. 13, following an executive session, to authorize the board’s counsel to initiate a protection from harassment action in District Court to address the harassing behavior of a former school employee. The board authorized a joint representation agreement to include the board and employees, Superintendent Tom Ward said Feb. 14.
“Due to Mr. Patterson’s repeated behavior, the board is extremely concerned for the safety and well-being of its staff,” school board Chairwoman Jennifer Zweig-Hebert said in court documents.
She listed several instances of Patterson’s behavior, including an email sent to Williams in January saying the “end” to (her) “reign of terror” would come soon.
Patterson added that he “hopes she won’t fall on the ice and puncture her lung again,” according to Zweig-Hebert.
According to the orders, Ward and Mallett School Principal Tracy Williams worked together to review Patterson’s performance as a teacher.
Since Patterson was informed that he was not recommended for contract renewal at the end of the 2015-16 school year, “he has embarked on a campaign to taunt, intimidate, and retaliate against me,” according to Ward’s testimony, stated in an attachment to the order. The campaign, which includes “taunting emails and online posts” has caused Ward “great distress,” according to the attachment.
The complaint alleges that from June 2016 to Jan. 30, 2018, Patterson sent an email to a staff member that included a photo of a diseased rat and made false allegations against Ward and Williams. Williams was named Elementary School Principal of the Year for 2015.
“Due to Mr. Patterson’s repeated behavior, I am extremely concerned for my safety and well-being,” Williams wrote in her request for protection. “The tone of his emails, and his use of pseudonyms in his emails is deeply concerning. That Mr. Patterson’s obsessive behavior continues — now almost two full years after he was told he would not be rehired — is also very troubling.”
Williams said that as a result of the harassment, she has suffered from insomnia and other medical issues and has had her husband check their garage to ensure Patterson has not entered their property. She has also bought pepper spray for her safety, sought medical treatment, and met with state prosecutors and police about Patterson’s behavior, according to court documents.
Colleagues at Mallett School have provided Williams with letters saying that they are fearful about what could happen, according to the documents.
Farmington police officer Jesse Clement on Feb. 16 issued a warning to Patterson to stop the harassing behavior against Williams, according to a police narrative.
Editor’s note: The RSU 9 Board of Directors voted March 27 to authorize a settlement agreement with Patterson and the protection from harassment orders were dropped.